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Neuheisel says UT `absolutely’ has a chance to upset Georgia

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Last year, CBS analyst Rick Neuheisel predicted Tennessee would beat Georgia if the Vols got a second chance against the eventual national champions.

This week, Neuheisel wouldn’t go that far, but he said he expects the Vols (7-3) to give top-ranked Georgia (10-0) a battle royale at Neyland Stadium, where the Vols have won 14 in a row.

“I think, despite the fact Georgia has a 26- or 27-game win streak, they’re vulnerable,’’ Neuheisel said at the Knoxville Quarterback Club earlier this week. “They gave up 200 yards rushing to Auburn. They were down 14-3 to South Carolina.

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“This is a perfect opportunity for you to celebrate a great victory over Georgia. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, and when I get on CBS, I’m probably not picking Tennessee. … But I am saying it’s absolutely possible.”

Georgia is favored by 10 points.  Of course, Tennessee was favored by two at Missouri and lost 36-7 so don’t put too much stock in what Vegas says.

While the Vol Nation was upset at Tennessee’s showing in the Show Me State, Neuheisel pointed out that Josh Heupel is 25-9 in his first 34 games as UT’s coach – and UT fans would have signed up for that before the 2021 season.

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Neuheisel Favors Daniels for Heisman

Neuheisel said LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels would be his pick to win the Heisman Trophy, followed by Bo Nix of Oregon and Michael Penix (a former UT commit) at Washington.

“He’s phenomenal,’’ Neuheisel said of Daniels, who transferred to the Bayou from Arizona State after the 2021 season. “He’s a one-man wrecking crew.’’

Daniels became the first FBS player to pass for at least 350 yards and run for over 200 yards in a victory over Florida on Saturday night. Daniels was 17 of 26 for 372 yards and three touchdowns passing and rushed 12 times for 234 yards and two scores. He had an 85-yard TD run. “Jayden Daniels, to me, is sensational,’’ Neuheisel said.

Neuheisel said LSU’s offensive coordinator faced a dilemma calling plays against Florida since Daniels averaged 14.5 yards per pass attempt and 19.5 yards per rush.

LSU has three losses, which works against Daniels. Only three quarterbacks in the past two decades – Tim Tebow at Florida, Robert Griffin III at Baylor, Lamar Jackson at Louisville – have won the Heisman with that many defeats before the Heisman was awarded.

CBS Analyst Pokes Fun at Harbaugh

Neuheisel had fun at the expense of Michigan and Jim Harbaugh during his talk.

“Harbaugh is a nutcase,’’ Neuheisel said, “but I like him. … I call him the Wizard of Oz – Oz stands for overzealous.’’

Neuheisel asked the crowd, “Who believes Harbaugh didn’t know about the off-campus scouting?’’

Neuheisel poked fun at those that sided with Harbaugh.

Neuheisel said Michigan’s post-game celebration and comments “came off like Harbaugh was dead.’’

Neuheisel seemed annoyed that Harbaugh has been given hero status by some.

“Michigan is 4-0 when he’s not coaching,’’ Neuheisel said. “Maybe they ought to pay attention.’’

Neuheisel Marvels at Fisher Buyout

Neuheisel addressed former Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher getting about a $77 million buyout with $19.7 million owed within 30 days.

Neuheisel complimented Fisher’s agent.

“Can we hear an amen for the great Jimmy Sexton,’’ Neuheisel said. “Jimmy Sexton is running the world.’’

“What will (Fisher) do with himself? I don’t know but he can do it really well and do it more than once.’’

Neuheisel said A&M’s next coach needs a pickaxe and a parka because “he’s got to climb Mount Saban and Mount Smart.’’

Nick Saban at Alabama and Kirby Smart at Georgia have dominated college football. Saban has seven national titles. Smart has won the last two and is ranked No. 1 this season.

Neuheisel was asked if A&M should pay a new coach $20 million a year with no buyout so failure isn’t rewarded.

“I’ll take that gig,’’ Neuheisel said.”Role the dice, baby.’’

Neuheisel Thinks Saban Will Replace Corso

Neuheisel doesn’t see Saban, who’s 72, staying at Alabama much longer.

“I have a sneaking suspicion and only mine,’’ Neuheisel said, “I think Nick Saban is getting close to the end. I think it’s imminent. He’s having remarkable year, he has a chance to go to Atlanta and win the SEC  title and get to the College Football Playoff.

Neuheisel said Saban is doing several national TV appearances “as a bridge to the new gig with ESPN Game Day. As Lee Corso goes out, here comes Nick Saban. All of that in my mind is in the works.’’

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